Croatia Dessert

Povitica – A Croatian Sweet(ish) Bread

Have you ever made Povitica? If you’ve watched a few episodes of The Great British Baking Show you may have seen it during one of the technical challenges. It’s a “sweet’ (not if your American) dessert bread filled with a boozy, walnut, and cocoa filling.

During a Christmas gingerbread making house party, my MIL’s friend was talking about a recipe her Mom used to make when she was a kid but couldn’t remember the name, so I asked her to tell me how it tasted and the main ingredients she remembered.

It sounded a lot like the Croatian bread, Povitica. Her mother had been long gone and missed the Christmas memory, so I decided to see if this recipe was THE one with a small hope it would give her a little taste of home.

Fair warning, this isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a pain in the ass to make, strictly based off what goes in to stretching the bread, but if you like a challenge…do it.

But first, let’s recap in case you don’t know my rules…

I’m not a food blogger. I share recipes I’ve tried and if I’d make them again. The word foodie and hefty paragraphs filled with adjectives about the recipe annoy me. Oh, and photographs that have dusted flour and cutting boards.

You can expect the recipe I used, helpful tricks or what not to do and a couple (probably one) real shots of what it looked like when my bake came out of the oven.

The Recipe:

For the dough:

300g (10½ oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting

40g (1½ oz) caster sugar

7g salt

10g (⅓ oz) fast-action yeast

30g (1oz) unsalted butter, melted

1 large free-range egg, beaten

½ vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out

150ml (5½ fl oz) whole milk, warmed

For the filling:

60g (2¼ oz) unsalted butter

4 tbsp whole milk

280g (10 oz) walnut pieces

½ vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out

100g (3½ oz) caster sugar

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 free-range egg yolk, beaten

To assemble:

15g (½ oz) butter, melted

1 free-range egg white, beaten

100g (3½ oz) icing sugar

Directions

  1. For the dough, tip the flour and sugar into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt into one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the melted butter, egg, vanilla seeds and warm milk and begin mixing on a slow speed. When the dough starts to come together, mix for a further 5-8 minutes on a medium speed until the dough is soft, smooth and stretchy.
  2. Tip the dough into a lightly oiled mixing bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise until at least doubled in size – about one hour. Butter a 1kg (2lb) loaf tin.
  3. For the filling, place the butter and milk in a small pan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat.
  4. Place the walnuts, vanilla seeds, sugar and cocoa powder into the bowl of a food processor and blend to a sandy powder. Add the egg yolk, milk and butter mixture and pulse to combine. Set aside.
  5. To assemble, spread a clean bed sheet over a kitchen table and dust with flour. Turn the risen dough out onto the sheet and roll out the dough into a large 50x30cm (20x12in) rectangle. Brush the surface with 15g (½oz) melted butter.
  6. Dust your hands with flour and ease them underneath the dough. Using the backs of your hands, stretch the dough out from the centre until very thin and translucent (you should be able to see the sheet through the dough). The rectangle should measure approximately 1metrex60cm (40x24in).
  7. Taking care not to tear the dough, spread the filling over the dough until evenly covered. If the filling has been standing for a long time and is too thick, add a little warm milk to loosen it.
  8. Starting at the long edge of the dough, lift the sheet and gently roll the dough up tightly, like a Swiss roll.
  9. Carefully lift the dough and place one end in the bottom corner of the greased loaf tin. Ease the roll into the base of the tin to form a long ‘U’ shape, then double back laying the roll over the first ‘U’ shape to form a second ‘U’ shape on top.
  10. Place the loaf tin inside a clean plastic bag and leave to rise for one hour.
  11. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C(fan)/ 350F/Gas 4.
  12. Brush the dough with beaten egg white and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 150C/130C(fan)/300F/Gas 3 and bake for a further 45 minutes, or until golden-brown. Cover with foil if the top begins to darken too much.
  13. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  14. Mix the icing sugar with a few drops of cold water to make a runny icing and drizzle it over the povitica. Slice and enjoy.

My Findings:

  1. May the odds be ever in your favor when converting from metric to standard. I would give you my exact measurements but the piece of paper I flipping wrote it on disappeared (I’m looking at you, Hubs!).
  2. ps: Just get a scale to weigh it out on, I had to remake the dough THREE times. Save yourself the hassle (and two or maybe three – dear Zeus – hours) and spend the $10.
  3. I used the rolling pin as long as I possibly could before I started to stretch with my palms and fingers, not back of the hands as suggested because I’m pretty sure I would still be there trying to stretch it.
  4. I think adding some cinnamon in the filling and cutting the cocoa in half might be good. Oh! And some chopped walnuts sprinkled throughout, too.
  5. Needs to be eaten with coffee or tea. It was lighter tasting than I expected which I assume is due to all the layers, but I wouldn’t consider it sweet like a Cinnabon roll. So if you’re worried it is a true (American) dessert bread, it’s not.

Would I Make It Again?

Fuck no. I’d rather make a cinnamon roll, but I would absolutely make it again if my MIL’s friend specifically asked for it next Christmas.

I made four other people taste a slice before giving it away and got no complaints, but all agreed it wasn’t as sweet as they were expecting considering it was iced.

 

Povitica Quote on Taste Testing Friday post on RamblinRandol

Come be my friend on Instagram. I’m hilarious.
Originally recipe found, here.
Julia Child broiled chicken recipe blog image

Julia Child’s Poulets Grilles A La Diable

It’s Friday again, so that means we have a new recipe to try for the weekend! Two weeks ago I shared a tuna recipe from Child, this week I’m sharing a broiled chicken recipe I made for me and the in-laws.

But first, let’s recap in case you don’t know my rules…

I’m not a food blogger. I share recipes I’ve tried and if I’d make them again. I hate the word foodie and hefty paragraphs filled with adjectives about the recipe, and photographs that have dusted flour and cutting boards.

You can expect the recipe I used, helpful tricks or what not to do and a couple (probably one) real shots of what it looked like when my bake came out of the oven.

The Recipe:

2 ready-to-cook, 2 1/2 lb. broilers (chicken), halved or quartered.
A saucepan containing 6Tb melted butter and 2 Tb oil.
A pastry brush
Broiling pan minus the rack
salt
6Tb prepared mustard if the strong Dijon type
3 Tb finely minced shallots or green onions
1/2 tsp thyme, basil or tarragon
1/8tsp pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper

4 cups fresh, white crumbs from the home-made type of bread (make the crumbs in an electric blender, 3 or 4 slices of bread at a time)

Broiling pan with a rack, the rest of the basting fat

  1. Preheat oven broiler to moderately hot.
  2. Dry the chicken thoroughly, paint it with butter and oil, and arrange it skin-side down in the bottom of the broiling pan. Place it so that the surface of the chicken is 5 to 6 inches from the hot broiling element and broil 10 minutes on each side, basting every 5 minutes. The chicken should be very lightly browned. Salt it lightly.
  3. Blend the mustard with the shallots or onions, herbs, and seasonings in a bowl. Drop by drop, beat in half the basting fat to make a mayonnaise-like cream. Reserve the rest of the basting fat for later. Paint the chicken pieces with the mustard mixture.
  4. Pour the crumbs into a big plate, then roll the chicken in the crumbs, patting them on so they will adhere.
  5. Arrange the chicken pieces skin-side down on the rack in the broiling pan and dribble half the remaining basting fat over them. Brown slowly for 10 minutes under mod. hot broiler. Turn, baste with the last of the fat, and brown 10 minutes more on the other side. The chicken is done when the thickest part of the drumstick is tender, and, when the meat is pricked with a fork, the juices run clear yellow.

Transfer to a hot platter and serve.

My Findings:

  • Reserve ALL the basting fat. I had to be skimpy because I got frustrated trying to bast up the juices, so get it all out.
  • I got my chicken from WholeFoods already cut into halves which makes it SO much easier.
  • This was a ‘simpler’ recipe than the tuna, so if that’s something important to you start here.

Ps: I made this with roasted potatoes and asparagus rolled in oil, parmesan and garlic salt. Don’t think you can leave the asparagus in the oven to save counter space (and keep warmer for longer) while preparing the chicken. Apparently, the oven still heats whatever is in it when the broiler is on and WILL burn your wonderfully prepared asparagus.

Julia suggests another chilled rose, but I went for the vodka sodas with lime instead.

Would I Make It Again?

Julia child recipe for broiled chicken with mustard

… no, I wouldn’t. It was good don’t get me wrong! But it didn’t get me as excited as the fish recipe. I would make it again if requested, and possibly quarter the chicken to get it EXTRA crispy because I love crisp (but not like the asparagus crisp…).

Julia Child quote for recipe

Come be my friend on Instagram. I’m hilarious.